The trading address of a business can be important not only for practical logistical reasons but also for legal purposes. In this blog, we will explain the meaning of a trading address, how it differs from other types of corporate addresses, along with some of the legal aspects of business addresses.
What is the trading address of a business?
There is no official definition of a business trading address, but it is generally the address from which business activities are principally carried out. It can be a commercial or residential address.
All business structures require a trading address for the purposes of correspondence and official documentation. In the case of sole traders, this will often be the home address of the sole trader, but it could equally be a commercial address. In the case of a partnership, this might be the home address of one of the partners or a shared office.
Incorporated business structures, such as limited companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs), need to provide several different addresses to Companies House. We will consider these in more detail below.
Is a trading address the same as a business address?
The terms “trading address” and “business address” are used interchangeably. Unlike official corporate addresses, there is no specific legal definition of a trading address or a business address.
Although a trading address implies that it is the address where business is principally carried out, this is not always the case. But a trading address must be a valid address where business correspondence can be received.
Some businesses may carry out their trade from several different locations, such as a chain of coffee shops. In this case, they will need to decide on a single address to use as their general trading address.
What is the trading address of a limited company?
As with other business structures, the trading address of a limited company or other incorporated business structure is the address from which business activities are principally carried out.
But company directors also need to be aware of the specific rules around corporate addresses. There are several addresses which every company needs to file with Companies House, in accordance with the Companies Act 2006:
- Registered office address – the official address of a limited company, kept on public record by Companies House. The registered office address can be the same as the trading address. It should be used in any official documents and correspondence, and it must be displayed on all company stationery, emails, and websites.
- Directors’ correspondence address – each company director must provide a correspondence address, alternatively known as a service address, for official purposes. This can be the same as the registered office address and the trading address. It is visible on the public register of companies.
- Directors’ home address – each company director must provide their full home address to Companies House. This does not appear on the public register. However, if it doubles up as the director’s correspondence address and/or the registered office address, it will be visible.
Additionally, companies can also optionally use a Single Alternative Inspection Location (SAIL) address. This is designed as an alternative address for purposes of public inspection of statutory records.
It is, therefore, possible that a single address will fulfil various functions in respect of a limited company. A trading address may be the same address as one or more of the various addresses which need to be filed with Companies House.
Can I use a professional address service for a trading address?
Companies that don’t have commercial premises often use professional address services. These generally look more professional than residential addresses. And crucially they also keep the home addresses of company directors off the public register, which offers all-important privacy.
Rapid Formations offers a business address service for UK companies. This can serve as the trading address for the purposes of general business correspondence. Letters received at this address can be forwarded to an alternative address for an additional fee.
It is important to note that this business address service cannot be used as the registered office address or for the purposes of official directors’ correspondence addresses. These need to be purchased separately.
Rapid Formations has two versions of a registered office address service: London or Glasgow. This service includes the use of one of these addresses as the registered office address for the purposes of being displayed on the Companies House public register. It also includes the scanning and emailing of any official government correspondence received at this address.
Company directors, who would otherwise need to use their home address as their correspondence address, can instead use the service address from Rapid Formations. This can be used as the director’s statutory correspondence address. Any official government mail received at this address will be scanned and emailed to the director as part of the service.